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Business Entities

This article applies to:Excise


This document applies to all license types.  Content last updated 6/2/2017.
Help Center documentation is confidential and proprietary to Avalara clients.

A Business Entity (BE) is another company with whom you do business. Each Business Entity (BE) should have at least one Business Account (BA) that describes the relationship between your business and theirs. There are 7 Business Account (BA) types.  

  • Buyer
  • Carrier
  • Consignor
  • Position Holder
  • Seller
  • Middleman
  • Importer

The information required for a Business Entities and Business Accounts varies by return. Check with your tax jurisdiction to determine their requirements.

View Business Entities

Business Entities (BE) are stored in a table and used to populate the tax schedule.   A BE is activated by its effective date, and inactivated by its obsolete date.

  1. Click Maintenance > Business Entities > Business Entities.

  2. The grid row on the Business Entities tab displays the records for all BE types.  Use the filter to narrow down your selection and click on a record to view it.
    • Note that there are no Company Zero (0) system records.  BE records are user added.
    • If the table is empty, complete the steps in Create a Business Entity.

Create a Business Entity

You can create a new business entity by importing a record containing its information to add it automatically to your table, or by manual entry.  Click here to find out how the import process creates new and matches to existing BEs.

  1. Click Maintenance > Business Entities > Business Entities.
  2. Click Add New Record.
  3. Fill out the required fields that are marked with a red * and click Insert.
    • Though the remaining fields are optional, it is recommended you supply the information, including the address.
    • The Name Control will populate with the first 4 characters of the BE Legal Name if one is not added manually.
  4. You will see the message Record Inserted.  Add another record or click the X to close the window.
  5. Until the BE is used in a return marked as Filed, you may click on the record in the grid row to Update or Delete it.

Add a Business Account

A Business Account (BA) adds the license information to a Business Entity.  For example, Jones Company, Inc might be a buyer and also a carrier, so their entity record would have 2 accounts.

  1. Click the BE row in the grid to edit.
    • If a BE is locked, you may still add a new BA to it.
  2. Click the Business Accounts tab, then click Add New Record.
  3. Choose a BA type from the dropdown.  The fields will auto-populate from the parent BE and default to Buyer for Business Type, which is the first in the list.  Edit the fields as needed, and click the check mark to save the record.
    • Business SubType is dependent on the jurisdiction chosen and will show the state-specific choices.  Choosing * for all jurisdictions will not show any subtypes.  
    • One BE record can contain multiple BAs.
  4. Like a BE record, a locked BA record may not be edited or deleted.  
    • It can be marked as obsolete to make the record inactive.

Locked dates

A locked date means that it has been used in a tax return that has been marked as filed.  This ensures that records used in a filed return cannot be inadvertently edited.

  1. The Locked Date column in the grid is populated with the date when the record is locked.
  2. When you open a BE record, there may be a warning message "An associated business account has a locked date".
  3. A locked record may not be edited or deleted.  
    • It can be marked as obsolete to make the record inactive.

Mark a record as obsolete

Adding an Obsolete Date to a record makes it inactive.

  1. Click on a record in the grid row.
  2. Type an Obsolete Date or choose one from the calendar button.
  3. Click Update.
  4. This record is now inactive.
    • There will no longer be a delete button in the record's window.
    • You can re-activate the record by deleting the obsolete date and updating the record.

Mass change Business Entities

You can edit the effective or obsolete date of multiple BEs using mass change.  The BE mass changes does not affect the Business Accounts.

  1. Click Maintenance > Business Entities > Business Entities.
  2. Use the grid filter to select the records to change.
  3. Select Modify Effective/Obsolete Dates from the dropdown in the lower left corner of the grid and click Submit.
  4. Enter or select a new Effective Date or Obsolete Date, and click Submit.
  5. The Scheduled Tasks tab will display the Status.
  6. Click on the Business Entities tab. All of the records you selected in the grid will be updated with the new values when the task is complete.
    • If you have filters applied to a field that has been changed, you will need to select the new filter criteria to view the record.

Mass delete unlocked entities

You can delete business entities that have not been locked using delete.  

  1. Click Maintenance > Business Entities > Business Entities.
  2. Use grid filters to select a specific set of entities for deletion, or clear away all filters to delete all unlocked entities. 
  3. Select Delete Unlocked Business Entities from the dropdown in the lower left corner of the grid and click Submit.
    BE dropdown.PNG
  4. You will see a message to confirm the action. Click Submit.
    BE Delete Confirmation.PNG

Business Entity Alternates

An alternate sets a relationship between an active BE and an obsolete one. Example:

Jones Trucking changes its name to Springfield Transport.  The locked BE for Jones Trucking cannot be edited or deleted, so an obsolete date is added to the record.  Springfield Transport is added as a new BE, but with an alternate of Jones Trucking, since they are the same company.  The import process will then match Jones Trucking to the active record for Springfield Transport.

  1. Open the new BE record and click the Business Entity Alternate tab.
  2. Click the dropdown and select from the Add New Business Alternate list.
    • Only BEs with an obsolete date will show in the list.
  3. Click Add Relationship.
  4. The obsolete alternate record now shows a tab of Primary Business Entity and contains a link to the active record.

Maintain Business Entities and Accounts

Regular review and cleanup of duplicates in your Business Entities and Accounts is recommended.  Allowing multiple accounts with spelling and punctuation variations may cause incorrect data to be reported on your tax return.   For example, Jones Company, Inc and Jones Co. may have the same FEIN, and have 2 entries in the BE table for the same company.

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